The Reason Why You Should Have a Fish Tank in Your Home

When it comes time to pick a pet, people often forget about fish. They’re not cuddly, you can’t really play with them, and they’re less inclined to the kinds of playful antics that make puppy and kitten videos go viral. These humble aquarium dwellers deserve more credit, though, and not just because they’re colorful and low-maintenace. PureWow tells us why everybody should have a fish tank in her home, and it’s all about mental health.

The reason? A study from Environment and Behavior says that having one – or even just looking at one – can dramatically decrease our stress levels, making them a perfect DIY remedy for anxiety and panic. (Of course, always consult a doctor and/or mental health professional for your anxiety, depression, and other mental health woes.) Staring at a fish tank for as little as five minutes has an almost-hypnotic effect, calming humans down because of our genetic predisposition to regard water as a positive, natural, nonthreatening environment that means survival, not worry or distress. Even if you’re just looking at a tank with nothing but plants in it – a good option for those of us who, ah, don’t do so well with pets of any kind – can trigger the zen-like effect.

Personally, my husband and I have a fish tank, so I can personally vouch for its calming effect. What about you? Do you own fish? Have you ever experienced this hypnotic state while looking into a tank? What are some of your other homegrown ways to destress and calm down when you’re feeling anxious?